Friday, May 27, 2016

Townsend, TN (second time)


Just a quick comment before I blog about Townsend – As of tomorrow I will have been full timing 7 years.  I can not believe it has gone so fast.  When I started I had no idea if I would enjoy it or not.  Or if I would last 1 year, 5 years, 10 years or more.  I still don’t know.  Every once in a while I think it might be nice to settle down somewhere, but then I think about all my travels and know I am not ready to settle in one place just yet!

Back to my Townsend trip --

After Waynesville, I headed back to Townsend, TN May 10 - 16.  Even though I was in the same area just a few weeks before (without my RV), this is one of my favorite areas in the Smokies so there was plenty for me to do.

While there I hiked one of my favorite trails, Abrams Falls.  While the falls is only about 20 feet high, it is very pretty and the hike is a very popular hike.  I hiked this trail on Friday the 13th, and had no bad luck while hiking!   I started hiking about 8:45 and saw very few people going to the falls.  By the time I was hiking back there were many more people on the trail.  The day I hiked it was overcast and a small chance of rain.  But since most days had been like that I took my chances.  It did make for some interesting scenery.

View from my car on the way to the Trailhead -


The next picture is one of 4 or 5 log crossings.  They need to work on the hand rails as they seem to be leaning more towards the water than they used to!




The bad part about this trail is that you must do the Cades Cove loop to get to the trail head.  If you have done this loop before you know it can get congested.  When I saw the traffic stopped I guessed that it was a “bear jam” and I was right. 



A mom and 2 cubs.   I enjoyed watching them for a while.

I also hiked the Little River Trail again.  I had planned on doing the Cucumber loop, which is off of the little River Trail, but the trails were pretty muddy and I decided it might not be worth it.


Since I am an early riser and I don’t like crowds, I hiked it fairly early and there was mist coming off the river. 

One rainy day I went into Pigeon Forge and went to the outlet mall (actually in Sevierville), but did not buy anything. 

From Townsend, I headed to Jamestown, TN.  I was there in 2011 and enjoyed it and wanted to revisit.  After I do that blog I will actually be caught up!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Waynesville, NC

As many times as I have visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park I have never stayed on the southern side of the park so I decided to stay in Waynesville, NC May 2 – 9.  Unfortunately it rained several days so I didn’t do as much touring and hiking as I would have liked to.

One day I went white squirrel hunting (for a picture) in Brevard, NC.  This area is known to have a population of white squirrels and I had read that the best place to spot them is on the Brevard College campus.  I saw no squirrels while there.  It was very windy, so maybe I will try again next time I am in the area.  On the drive to Brevard, I drove thru the Pisgah National Forest and stopped at the Looking Glass Falls. 


I also stopped at Connestee Falls.  This was in interesting falls.  Just beyond the overlook was a waterfall that falls toward the center of the picture (left side).  Then in the right corner is another water fall that falls also toward the center.   Interesting, but impossible to get a good picture.


Another day, I headed to Cataloochee Valley to see the elk.  I had read the best time to see them was at dawn and dusk.  I was there at 6:30 am and saw 25 or more.  I later talked with some folks who got there at 8:30 am and they saw none!


The elk above started walking quickly towards my car.  I wasn’t sure what he was planning, but I started up my car hoping the noise would scare him away which it did. 

I think the elk are pretty smart.  The one below seems to be reading the “horses prohibited” sign. 


In addition to elk and great scenery I saw a lot of turkeys.


A couple of days I drove part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Once on my way to the National Park and another just as a scenic drive.  One day it was very cold and as I got higher in elevation on the parkway and in the national park I ran into snow and sleet (mostly sleet). In the Smokies, the road to Clingman’s Dome was closed due to the roads icing. 



Above shows that I was being lazy and comfortable.  I drove up to an overlook and just rolled the window down to take some pictures.  It was sleeting so much in the few seconds the window was down this sleet came in my car.  This is May!  It’s not supposed to be this cold.  (It was low to mid 30’s in the higher elevations)

I decided to pay for a premium spot at my RV park in Waynesville and got a creek side spot.  I had great neighbors (mallards) and a good view.


From Waynesville, I headed back to Townsend but in my RV this time!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Townsend, TN & Dillard, GA

While my RV was in the shop, I went to Townsend, TN April 12 - 14.  On my drive there, I saw something unusual.

townsend_weinermobileThe weinermobile driving thru Great Smokey Mountain National Park!

I walked the Little River Trail a couple of times.  At the beginning of the trail are the remains of some old vacation homes and cabins.  Below is one that is close to the trail with some yellow trillium in front.


A Jack in the Pulpit -


Squaw Root -


Showy Orchid – Most of the Showy Orchids were not quite open, but I found some that were.



Yellow Trillium and moss -


2 types of trilliums -


The nature trail in the Chimneys Picnic area is known for wildflowers, so one day I headed over there. 

The trail with a bunch of trillium -


Dutchmen’s Britches -


Squirrel Corn – townsend_chimneys_trl_squirrel_cornFringed Phacelia – There were areas that were carpeted with white fringed phacelia.  The ones below were light purple.


Spring Beauty - townsend_chimneys_trl_spring_beauty

From Townsend, I went back to Georgia and picked my RV up and then headed to Dillard to visit my mom for a while.

One day I hiked the 2 rim trails at Tallulah Gorge State Park.  The Mountain Laurel were blooming and I have always liked them.



Fringed Polygala - dillard_tallulah_gorge1

From Dillard, I start my journey to Michigan where I will spend most of the summer.  Of course I will take my time stopping several places on the way.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Georgia–Fort Yargo and Watson Mill Bridge State Park

I am about 4 blogs behind and hope to catch up over the next week or 2.

The last 2 weeks in March I spent back at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA.  I walked the 6 or 7 mile trail around the lake 5 times.  On part of the trail, you can see the campground across the lake.  Below is a picture with my RV in the middle.


While at Fort Yargo, we had several foggy mornings.  I love looking at the view from my campsite in the fog.


April 3 – 11, I headed back to Watson Mill Bridge State Park in Comer, GA.  As I have posted previously it has a great covered bridge, which I walked across almost every day.


One day I hiked a couple of their trails.  I saw some blooming wild azaleas.


From Watson Mill Bridge, I took my RV back to the shop to get a problem fixed.  Unfortunately the fix required them to remove the black tank, so staying at the shop would not work.  I decided to go to Townsend, TN for a few days.  I will blog about that next.